Press Review: Heathers at the Alexandra Theatre

⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ A must-see show for 2023!

Following two smash hit West End seasons and the Whatsonstage award for Best New Musical, the record-breaking show returns to Birmingham!

Welcome to Westberg High, where Veronica Sawyers is just another nobody dreaming of a better day. But when she joins the beautiful and impossibly cruel Heathers and her dreams of popularity may finally come true, mysterious rebel JD teaches her that it might kill to be a nobody, but it is murder to be a somebody…

Heathers is a blistering black comedy musical, based on the 1989 cult classic movie of the same name, starring Winona Ryder and Christian Slater. Set within the corridors of Westberg High, it follows 17-year-old student Veronica Sawyer and her struggles with the social hierarchy of high school, desperate to climb the ladder and improve her popularity status. This is Mean Girls with murder!

The show utilises all the tropes of its high-school setting and characters, and the aesthetic from the original film is perfectly translated from screen to stage in this production. The bright, saturated colours and stylised nature of the costume and set design greatly compliments the fun, high-energy performances of the show.

These colourful elements also serve as a great contrast for when the show’s darker themes creep in. The story takes a dive into some darker territory, including themes of teen suicide, murder and grief, providing the typical high school drama with more edge and higher stakes. These topics are handled through the script’s biting black comedy, that doesn’t necessarily make light of the issues but rather shines a light on them, often through humour and outrageous turns of events.

The musical numbers were another highlight, and this is a show packed with memorable songs and musical moments. With a soundtrack featuring fan-favourites Beautiful, Candy Store and Dead Girl Walking, musical fans are sure to be impressed. The tracks were tackled head-on with skill and proficiency by all of the cast, who didn’t miss a note.

This production boasts a talented ensemble, led by Jenna Innes as Veronica Sawyer, whose powerhouse performance is the emotional anchor of the story. Alongside her is Jacob Fowler as Jason ‘J.D.’ Dean, who manages to tap into a subtlety and nuance of the character, shifting between dry, sardonic wit and explosive emotion with ease. Verity Thompson stars as ‘mythic bitch’ and top dog Heather Chandler, playing the role with a delicious venom, perfectly capturing that classic mean girl spite. And for this performance was Summer Priest and Eliza Bowden, completing the trio as Heather Duke and Heather McNamara, offering a fantastic take on the roles. Special mention goes to the Alex Woodward and Morgan Jackson as high school jocks Kurt and Ram, whose comedic double-act was a fun highlight. Rounding out the cast are Kingsley Morton, Katie Paine, Conor McFarlane, Jay Bryce, Markus Sodergren, Tom Dickerson, Liam Dean, Maeve Byrne, Eleanor Walsh and Lizzie Emery.

With a sharp script, memorable songs, fantastic production design, and several stand-out performances, Heathers is absolutely a must-see show for 2023!

Heathers: The Musical is playing at the Alexandra Theatre, Birmingham until Saturday 20 May. Purchase your tickets here!